Lauener Foundation for Analytical Philosophy


Friday 27 June 2014
Bern, Switzerland

6th International Lauener Symposium on Analytical Philosophy
Memorial Symposium in Honour of Professor Fred Dretske

Professor Pierre Jacob

(Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS, Paris)

Knowing One's Own Mind

My paper is devoted to Dretske’s intriguing account of self-knowledge. Dretske’s goal is to reconcile an externalist conception of the contents of thoughts and experiences with acceptance of the special epistemic authority of introspection. According to Dretske’s two-tiered account, introspection gives each of us special authoritative access to the contents of our thoughts and experiences (not available to others), but not to the fact that we have thoughts and experiences. I shall address three issues.


First, I shall examine Dretske’s displaced perception model of introspective knowledge of one’s own perceptual experiences.


Secondly, I shall argue that Dretske’s two-tiered account of self-knowledge is not committed to the strong claim that one could know the contents of one’s thoughts and experiences without knowing that one has thoughts and experiences. He is committed instead to the weaker claim that one’s way of knowing the contents of one’s thoughts and experiences is different from one’s way of knowing that one has thoughts and experiences.


Finally, I shall question Dretske’s (recently expressed) joint views that one can be acquainted with propositions and that one’s acquaintance with propositions is the source of the special authority of one’s introspective self-knowledge of what one thinks.

Professor Pierre       Jacob

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